Shadowing a doctor

January 18, 2021

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

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Shadowing a doctor is one of the best ways to gain clinical experience as a pre-health student. Our hospital doctor shadowing program in the Dominican Republic provides a minimum of 40 hours in a working hospital environment, evidenced by a physician’s recommendation letter on successful completion.

All of our placements are compliant with both AAMC and BMA guidance on student shadowing, and our individual mentoring system ensures the highest standards of professional supervision.

This is an immersive and at times intense experience that will introduce you to the complex challenges of life in the medical profession – supported throughout by our expert staff, and living with your peers from around the world in the famous Global Pre-Meds House.

Your Mentor

Guiding you through your hospital experience is your mentor – an accredited medical doctor who is your supervisor, and through whose eyes you will gain a very personal insight into a career in clinical medicine and surgery.

The relationship you build with your mentor is an important basis of the learning experience, and all of our doctors are chosen because of their passion for helping develop the next generation of health professionals. That relationship also enables your mentor to write a personal letter of recommendation for medical schools that honestly reflects their observation of your approach and aptitude.

On your first day, you’ll have a familiarization session with your mentor, to discuss your own personal learning objectives and how the placement can help you meet them. Due to our strong hospital partnerships (see our ethics), your mentor can also call on colleagues from across the healthcare team to allow you to observe a range of clinical cases (e.g. surgical procedures or childbirths) in which he or she is not directly involved.

Cases you can observe

The hospital doctor shadowing program is based in the Dominican Republic because of the excellent opportunities hospitals here offer to experience both mainstream cases that are common around the world and more specialist tropical medicine.

It’s likely you’ll have at least one opportunity to observe surgeons at work in the O.R. In most of our partner hospitals, orthopaedic, gastrointestinal and E.N.T. procedures are all relatively common, and our specialist trauma hospital (the largest in the country) also offers more advanced surgeries including neurological and maxillofacial.

If you’re with one of our maternity mentors, there’s a good chance of being invited to see a natural delivery, as well as experiencing the ante- and post-natal functions of the hospital and the neonatal I.C.U. Caesarean sections are relatively common, and consent is often given for students to attend.

One of the great advantages of shadowing a doctor abroad is the opportunity to experience medical conditions you’re unlikely to see at home, and Dominican Republic allows students to experience cases such as malaria, dengue fever, malnutrition and many more.

Safety in the clinical environment

The Global Pre-Meds program is designed to allow students with little or no clinical training to experience the hospital front line in a safe and responsible way, through observational shadowing. Students are not allowed physical patient contact or any participatory involvement in clinical procedures.

At the start of the placement, you will be introduced to the hospital by one of our Student Coordinators. From this point on, your mentor takes over responsibility for your safety and will ensure you are under professional supervision at all times.

You will be provided with Global Pre-Meds scrubs and PPE that you must change into at the hospital each day, for infection control reasons.

If you’re interested in shadowing a doctor, we hope you consider one of our programs. You can learn more here.